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Is Your Teen Taking Online Classes? Proceed with Caution

So Are Online Classes Worth It?

Online classes are an increasingly popular option for both high school and college students. They can count toward college and high school credits, but students should proceed with caution.

So, looking into online classes for teens and college students? Here are three ways to make sure that online class earns your teenager the credit she needs.

How To Make Online Classes Worthwhile

1. Make sure your teenager can get credit for the class.

If your teenager wants to take online classes for college or high school credit, then check with your student’s educational institution to make sure it will grant the credit for the class he’s selected. Notably, not every online class results in college or high school credit. Take the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), which are free classes offered by elite institutions, like MIT, Harvard, Princeton and Stanford. Sounds great, but they don’t translate into credit toward a degree.

That said, if your student does not want credit, then MOOCs can be a great option for online learning.

2. Online classes are one thing, an online degree is another.

Another worry: the perceived value of online education. Online classes can be worthwhile, but an online degree is probably not. Or not yet, though at some point chances are an online degree will be valued as highly as a traditional degree.

“You need to consider the value of the degree,” says Thalia Thompson, founder of the Connecticut-based College Admissions Coaching. “When you apply for jobs in that field, will that degree be valued by prospective employers?” Some fields may be more open to online degrees than others. It’s worth doing the research before signing up for an online degree program.

3. Your local community college may be the best of both worlds.

If your teenager is interested in online coursework, check out for-credit offerings at your local community college or public university. They’ll cost you tuition, but your teenager will likely get to keep those credits when he or she does enroll in a degree program.

Diana Simeon

Diana Simeon is an editorial consultant for Your Teen.

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